Data portability and the consumer data right


Data portability in the form of a ‘consumer data right’ is being introduced for certain industries through amendments to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) made under the Treasury Laws Amendment (Consumer Data Right) Act 2019 (Cth).

The consumer data right allows individuals and small, medium and large businesses to access particular data held by certain businesses, for example, their banks, in a standard, usable form and allows the consumer to require those businesses to securely transfer that data to an accredited third party data recipient, including competitors and comparison service providers.

This is intended to allow more informed decisions about use of a service provider’s products and to make it easier to transfer to an alternative service provider. This is intended to encourage greater competition between service providers and delivery of innovative products.

The scope of the consumer data right is broader than the access rights under the privacy legislation as it grants access to more than just personal information and requires the data to be provided in a standardised electronic format.  The consumer data right includes customer data, customer name, contact details, account details, transaction data and product data such as the terms and conditions or availability of a product.  It gives individuals and businesses information about themselves and their service provider’s products.

The consumer data right is being rolled out in stages, starting with the banking sector, followed by the energy and telecommunications sectors.  On 6 May 2020, consultation draft documents were released for the extension of the consumer data right to the energy sector.